Power tools are an investment and even with our current lineup, you ideally want a drill press that provides you utility. That is, it provides you the power, accuracy, and stability to carry out your home renovation projects.
There are a lot of similarities you’d find, but there is a clear difference when you get down to their details. And, we’re here to do just that.
If you’d like to know which drill press between Wen and Harbor Freight we recommend, read on below to find out.
Main Differences Between Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press
The main differences between Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press are:
- Wen is an overall heavier unit, whereas Harbor Freight is comparatively lightweight.
- Calipers are multi-purpose, whereas micrometers can only serve its singular measurement function.
- Harbor Freight Drill Presses are relatively cheaper, whereas Wen presses are more expensive
- Wen delivers on overall better build quality, whereas the Harbour Freight’s construction is less durable.
- Harbor Freight table tops can be rotated 360 degrees at their neck, whereas Wen drill presses can only rotate 45 degrees at either side.
Are these differences significant enough to sway your decision? Let’s take a peek at the features each drill press offers in order to understand their full utility.
Specifications for Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press
|Wen 8 in 5-Speed Drill Press||Harbor Freight 8 in 5-Speed Drill Press|
|Product Dimensions: 18.00 x 9.13 x 13.50 in||Product Dimensions: 17 x 7-1/2 x 22-⅝ in|
|Product Weight: 35 lbs||Product Weight: 32 lbs|
|Speeds: 760-3070 RPM||Speeds: 740-3140RPM|
|Motor Power: 1/3 Horsepower||Motor Power: 1/3 Horsepower|
|Table Dimensions: 6-1/2 x 6-1/2 in||Table Dimensions: 6-1/4 in. x 6-1/8 in.|
Exploring Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press features
Whether you’re shifting over from portable drills or are completely new to power tools, understand what kind of projects you’re going to undertake. The tools and characteristics you need for bedroom renovations differ from that of plumbing projects. They should be the determinant of which type of drill press you should buy.
Therefore, as we dive into the features of Wen and Harbor Freight Drill Presses, you may want to keep your purpose of purchase in mind.
Design & Construction
Quality construction can take many forms. The combination of various elements working together is what determines the capacity, capabilities, and utility of a tool.
Harbor Freight is known for producing quality tools that are affordable and durable. Their drill presses are no different. They understand the needs of their consumers and have designed their products accordingly.
Their 8-inch 5-speed press is lightweight and small enough to be great for home or commercial use. The unit’s 8 x 2 in dimensions can be non-intrusively fitted in a corner or on most workbenches.
It has an adjustable table that can be rotated around 360 degrees and tilts at a 45-degree angle. The table can be locked in place once adjusted. The stamped steel base provides greater stability.
The Harbor Freight has longer, grip-friendly handles which can be taken off when utilizing its depth drilling.
Additionally, it uses a mixture of plastic and cast steel parts in its construction to achieve its lighter weight. By using aluminum pulleys, the unit manages to stay light. However, there is a small trade off in the resulting vibrations and noise from the machine. The drill press may tend to rattle, especially since its top cover does not lock in place.
In comparison, Wen drill press is made out of cast iron. This provides increased durability and stability, but it inflates its weight as well. The Wen drill press is around 35 lbs compared to the Harbor Freight’s 32 lbs. The product dimensions stand at 7.5 x 22.88 x 11 inches as well.
Unlike the former, it does not have 360-degree table rotation, however, it can bevel around 45 degrees on either side. The rigid base and secure rubberised top reduce any noise or vibrations when in use. It also uses the more durable steel pulleys.
Overall, both machines are compact making them easy to store whether that’s in your workspace or garage. From their built and design, they are able to provide you with the flexibility to drill precise and accurate holes through metal, wood, plastics, and many other such materials.
We’d have to give props to Wen for its sophisticated configuration which provides better results and easier use. That said, there are a few more things to consider.
Motor Power & Speed
Well built tools are one thing, but the power capabilities determine what you can do as well. Different materials will require different speeds. If its too high, you can burn through your material. Alternatively, if it’s too low, your cuts aren’t going to look clean. Therefore, speed is an important component.
Harbor Freight uses a 1/3 horsepower motor that has a minimum speed of 760 RPM and a maximum of 3070 RPM. On the other hand, the Wen Drill Press uses the same horsepower to deliver speeds between 740 RPM to 3140 RPM.
The difference may seem slight, but Wen’s motor power and speed will generally allow you to get typically smoother cuts at the right configurations.
While this may not directly impact the finish of your objects, the smoothness of the tool’s hydraulic mechanism will impact its ease of use and product durability. Due to the construction of the Harbor Freight, it is generally tougher than the Wen. The finish and the design of the mechanism make the drill press slightly more challenging to use.
Another aspect to consider is what you can get as accessories or pre-packaged within your drill press to sweeten the deal for yourself.
For example, Harbor Freight comes with an in-build light stand that can be adjusted for improving visibility. Wen only offers light stands when it comes to their 13 and 17 inch drill models.
Wen, on the other hand, offers deals to accompany their drill press. You can add in drill press vises, bench grinder, or titanium-coated drill bit set with your purchase and be fully equipped to get drilling as soon as it arrives.
As with other drill presses, each comes with a chuck. The Wen does have its own storage area for the chuck while you might need to DIY a handle within your Harbor Freight unit.
Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press – Ease of use
Given all the details outlined above, Wen drill presses are generally easier to use. The large button, stable workstation, adjustable mechanics, higher speeds and smoothness is why users generally prefer Wen over Harbor Freight.
That said, the latter is no by means a bad product. It clearly delivers excellent results with a few minor hiccups or elements that need getting used to.
Small matters make a difference here. For example, the chuck storage within the Wen means you’d be able to quickly make adjustments. It may not seem like a must-have, but these elements are what make Wen are overall easier product for long term use.
Comparing Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press – Pricing
Both drill presses have an identical function with a few differences in form and build. Wen has a slightly higher price tag than the Harbor Freight. This is mainly attributed to its cast iron construction and quality differences. The finish of Wen products are generally more refined and therefore, the price is justified.
If it isn’t significant enough to sway your decision as much, however, it may come down to a matter of personal preference with the price being a secondary concern.
Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press – Pros and Cons
Wen Drill Press
- High powered, quality drill press
- Cast-iron durable construction
- 1/3 Horsepower motor
- Can cut through metal, wood, plastic and other materials
- Table bevels at a 45-degree angle
- Comes with chuck and storage area
- Comparatively expensive
- Depth hole in the table could be wider.
Harbor Feight Drill Press
- Highly accurate power tool
- Efficient use of metal and plastic built
- Can cut through metal, wood, plastic and other materials
- Rotatable table can be adjusted along 360-degrees while tilting at 45 degrees
- Comes with chuck
- Durability and finish of product can be improved
- Lid rattles due to unstable lock and base
Are there any alternatives?
Milwaukee Electromagnetic Drill Press
If the above options do not provide the power you need, then the Milwaukee Electromagnetic Drill Press might be right for you. This drill is designed specifically for metal drilling and may not be suitable when working with wood or plastics given its speeds. That said, it can easily and effortlessly cut through metals of various densities. You can adapt it for various metalworking projects as well.
Additionally, it has a magnetic base that securely holds the press in place on any flat metal surface. You won’t have to worry about the machine wobbling. Overall, its one of the best options out there for steel and other metals.
Dremel 220-01 Drill Press
Do you already have a power drill that delivers the power and speed you need? If so, investing in an entirely new drill press may be an unnecessary cost.
You can instead convert your power drill into a drill press using the Dremel 220-01. Simply assemble the press and fit your drill to start using. Best of all, the dremel is compact, lightweight and portable. If you don’t have a regular use for a power drill, this might be a handy option to have around.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press
Answer: Buying a new power tool is daunting. You don’t want to make the wrong decision, but you do need to test your tools to see if they’ll fit your workspace in the long term.
As such, both companies do offer a warranty for their products. Wen has a 90 day commercial warranty. You can read more of their policy by going through their Warranty Statement.
Harbor Freight also offers a 90-day product warranty, although their policy is much clearer. It allows consumers to request a return or replacement within the allotted time period. Learn more on their Customer Service information page.
Answer: There are a number of elements that could influence your buying decision.
Your workspace can be a large determinant. Drill presses generally require bench space, unless they are of the standing variety. You’re likely going to have to place the press in a usable location so you don’t have to move the machine for each use.
Drilling speed and capacity should be looked at according to the material you want to drill through. You don’t want your materials to be burned through or have rough edges. A proper drill will be able to provide you a smooth finish. Likewise, the power output of your press determines the toughness of materials you can tackle and should be kept in mind.
Other than that, think about the projects you want to undertake and their requirements as guides for you. While price may influence which cost range you opt for, buying a handy tool should be the prime concern.
Answer: Operating a drill press is pretty straight forward, but it requires vigilance. Start by selecting the appropriate speed and adjusting the pulley. Use a slower speed when cutting metal and faster for wood projects.
You should then use your chuck and fit your preferred bit into the drill. Make sure its secure and the chuck is removed after adjustment to avoid any accidents.
Conduct any measurements or adjustments you need to make while your machine is turned off. Next, adjust your table, fit any fences or clamps and lock everything in place. Once secured you can start drilling.
To ensure you’re using the proper protocols, you may want to refer to the drill’s user manual.
Answer: Before using a drill press, familiarize yourself with the safety precautions as per your company’s recommendations. Some general advice includes:
– Reading the owner’s manual carefully and referring to it when in doubt
– Make sure the press is positioned where it’s on/off switch is accessible
– Cover your eyes with safety glasses
– Place any fences, shields, and guards to protect your body and avoid any flyaways
– Clampdown material where possible
– Avoid wearing loose clothing and wear proper safety gear
– Lubricate the bit when drilling through metal objects
Additionally, you should always use sharp bits and ensure proper aftercare procedures are followed for avoiding any issues
Drill presses are flexible tools within any workshop–whether that’s personal or commercial. They can be used to drill through metal, wood and plastics. You can use it to drill large and small diameter holes of a specific depth. Customize your nails or cut out a specific sized wooden fitting. You can even use it to enlarge any existing holes. Play around with its attachments any you can use your drill press as a high powered sander or polisher. Essentially, drill presses can be used for executing a variety of tasks. However, you should first familiarize yourself with the basics in order to understand its true utility.
Our Verdict: Wen vs Harbor Freight Drill Press – Which is better?
To sum up, both products are excellent and renowned options which can be a great addition for any workshop. You can use them as all purpose tools or for specific woodworking or metalworking projects. That said, there is a clear winner among the two.
The Harbor Freight Drill Press provides efficient and accurate drilling well-suited for a number of projects. It has the speed and power to be a great multi-functional tool and its 360-degree table rotation can be particularly handy.
That said, Wen Drill Press wins between the two given the improvements it provides. Although it has a slightly higher price tag, its ease of use, reliability and results for the cost are unrivalled.